Snippet #1

The following is the start of a fight from chapter 3.  The scene is not final but it will be mostly the same in the end.

“I’d just like to say, I’m sorry in advance if this doesn’t end well for you.” He then turned back to the crate and kicked it again. “Get up, already,” he said flatly.

The contents rattled again, heavier this time. Something that sounded like dry-heaving came from inside as well and before Grimluk could ask what was going on, the crate’s lid burst off, splintering at the point of impact. It ripped off, flying a few feet in the air and landed with a thick but dull thud. The crate tipped forward and landed open-face out.

A body stepped forward, planting a heavy-booted foot down, the dry-heaving sound emanated from it, louder now that it had exited the box. It turned slowly towards the hunter. He could feel the thing’s eyes on him, its coat and clothes covered in dirt. Pebbles of debris rolled from the thing’s crushed hat. Selbie walked up to stand next to it.

Grimluk’s lips curled into a snarl. The man before him, once a pale Elf, glared at him from a rotting shell. Most of his flesh was missing but appeared to be knitting itself back in all the important places. Bones, both broken and whole, poked out of some places and shown clearly in others. The dead Elf’s eyes shown as vividly as they had in life, though now tarnished by rage and hatred. And he stank.

A ghoul.

“Ald’n,” Selbie called. The ghoul turned to him and growled.

“Thech!” More of the dry-heaving sound followed the Elf’s attempt to speak. He hacked and choked before hurling a wad of black phlegm from this throat. “Thhhhe fuck…do you want…old man?” The voice that issued forth from the dead Elf’s mouth sounded like gravel scraping flesh. “Why…am I…alive again?”

“It’s very simple,” the mayor said as he stepped in front of the man. “You failed to help this town and now you’re going to make up for it. You’re going to do your best to kill this Orc.”

Grimluk huffed to himself, looking completely unsurprised. He was surprised to see a talking ghoul though.

“And what…if I…kill you…instead?”

“Oh, you’re free to try but you’re very much a dog on a short leash, so you’ll be doing this thing for me whether you want to or not. And I don’t honestly care what you want.”

The dead-Elf snarled and swung a tattered arm at the mayor’s head with the same force that had blown the crate’s lid off. It did not connect. His arm hung in the air, the once decaying, mostly skeletal fist shaking several inches from the mayor’s face. The mayor smiled.

“I hope you feel better. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to step back and you’re going to try to kill the hunter behind me. Do I make myself clear?”

The Elf’s fist fell back to his side. He made no visible reply. The mayor nodded and stepped away from the two would-be adversaries. Grimluk moved without warning.

His fist slammed into the Elf’s head like a boulder. Grimluk put the full force of his weight behind the punch. The sound of a thick, crunchy snap echoed before being swallowed by a great gasp from their audience. The dead Elf’s head had snapped back completely and dangled from a strand of nerves and flesh. The townsfolk murmured in surprise. Grimluk shook his fist out and looked at the mayor.

“That it?”

“My boy, you’re hardly done yet,” the mayor replied, continuing to walk away.

The hunter returned his gaze to the still standing body. The Elf’s corpse swayed drunkenly for a moment before reaching back and grabbing its dangling head. Grimluk watched as it pulled its head back into a vertical position. The muscle and bone began knitting itself back together. The Elf let go of his head and glared at the Orc. Grimluk saw then that the Elf’s whole body was repairing itself. Holes mended, bones reset, and rot disappeared. Definitely not your average ghoul.